Saturday, October 25, 2014

Main Ingredient's MENU - Veritas tasting, Green Wine Awards, Saxenburg’s Drunken Fowl, Blaauwklippen Blending Competition, Wine on the River, Excelsior, De Wetshof,Caroline’s White Wine Review, Top 10 Sauvignon, Reciprocal tasting

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Two friendly mules at Excelsior, Robertson
In this week’s MENU:
* Veritas tasting
* Nedbank Green Wine Awards
* Saxenburg’s Drunken Fowl
* Wine on the River
* Excelsior
* De Wetshof
* Caroline’s White Wine Review
* Top 10 Sauvignon
* Reciprocal tasting
* This week’s recipe: Smoor Snoek
* Important festivals this month
* Food and wine (and a few other) events for you to enjoy
* Learn about wine and cooking
To get the whole of our story, please click onREAD ON.....” at the end of each paragraph, which will lead you to the related blog, with pictures and more words. At the end of each blog, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to the blog version of MENU.
This week’s Product menu     Product of the week is Truffle oil. We have had some delicious dishes this week, all really enhanced by the flavour of truffles and the quickest way to get this into your food is by splashing on a little real truffle oil. We stock good Italian oils; all of them contain small pieces of truffle to show authenticity.  See them here
This has been a week of tasting wine, lots of wine. Three major wine competitions, a wine festival in Robertson, a stay at Excelsior Manor house, a cellar tour and a tasting of their wines, a guided tasting of De Wetshof wines, just for us, on the farm and a lunch with the family, a great opportunity to taste French and other European wines and Caroline’s really, really special White Wine Review. Oh and the launch of a new wine.. It is probably the busiest week we’ve had in twelve years, with more content than ever to pack in, which is why MENU is being sent out so late! Are we wined out? Never.
Veritas Public tasting      We started our wine-filled week at CTICC for the public tasting of some of the Veritas award winning wines. We try to taste as many of the double gold winners as possible at this show but do manage to speak to people and taste some of the other gold and silver awards. It is a very social evening and there is always a very wide spread of different varietals. One of the highlights of the evening is the museum class wines which KWV and Nederburg produce for tasting. This year Nederburg had a 1964 Port and KWV allowed us to taste a 1929 Sherry – thick, dark and still just identifiable as a sherry - and a 1968 White Muscadel. All were worth tasting. We didn’t make it to the brandy table, but wish we had as they had some good older bottles. Read on
Nedbank Green Wine Awards     We lunched at Myoga restaurant at The Vineyard to witness the presentation of these awards. We are very impressed at the huge improvement in the wines entered but we are interested to see how long the low sulphur wines will last in the bottle. To quote judge François Rautenbach: ‘Overall, the organic category looks much better than ever before! It’s as though there’s been an appreciable move towards commercialisation and upping quality.’ Impressive is the growing commitment of the industry to get involved in biodiversity. However, we still need the Government to legislate on what is properly considered to be organic produce in this country. There are no national rules, only self applied ones based on what overseas countries are doing and they vary a lot. We support the industry BioDiversity initiatives as they are focusing their time and money on very worthwhile projects. Click here to see the awards and see the excellent lunch produced by Mike Basset and his staff.
Launch of Saxenburg’s The Drunken Fowl      The launch of this “easy drinking” shiraz aimed at the younger market was held at Voila! in Bantry Bay. It will be selling in the region of R65 to R70 on the farm and in the trade. It has been introduced by the son Vincent and daughter Fiona of the owners of the farm Adrian and Birgit Bührer, who were also at the launch. It turned into rather a long cocktail party and the young folk were enjoying themselves a lot. It was a treat to see Winemaker Nico van der Merwe who has been rather ill and is now on the road to recovery. Read on....
Blaauwklippen Blending Competition     There was a huge surprise this year at this annual blending competition which is open for entry to all South African wine clubs. Who won? Well in the greatest coincidence (which has never happened before), six wine clubs all managed independently to get the same winning blend. So they were all there for the fun award ceremony at Blaauwklippen in Stellenbosch this week.  We had a meat and cheese platter lunch prepared by Steve Jeffery during which the awards were announced and we got to meet many of the winners. The winning wine was served to us with lunch. Click here to see the list of winners Read on
Wine on the River in Robertson     This is one of our favourite festivals. Who wouldn’t want to taste lovely wines with very friendly and welcoming people from the area on the banks of one of our most beautiful rivers, in the balmy October late Spring weather. “Dit is die maand Oktober! Die mooiste, mooiste maand!”, to quote the song by C. Louis Leipoldt. We bought lots of wine, ate lots of food and tasted lots of good wines.  Next year we will try to go for longer. Just one day at the festival is not enough. Read on
Excelsior     We had been invited to come and visit Excelsior farm and stay in the guest house. The Wine on the River festival presented the perfect time to do so and we arrived on Sunday and stayed till Tuesday, enabling us to visit more farms and taste more wines in the Valley. Carin Visser runs the Guest House like a four star hotel. It is a beautiful spacious old house, in the Cape Dutch Revival style, circa 1900 and Peter de Wet told us it was an Ostrich Palace. The 9 rooms are spacious, with wooden floors, high ceilings and teak multi-paned windows and all are en suite. The beds are huge and have lovely crisp linen. We had dinner on our first night, the food is, to quote them: “ a set three course menu which changes daily taking advantage of what is in season. We offer lovingly prepared, home cooked 'farm food'.”  Excelsior wines are included with dinner. The serving staff were really impressive especially James who is the house butler. And Carin made us very welcome and comfortable throughout our stay
Breakfast on both mornings was very good, especially on Tuesday when the weather allowed us all to breakfast on the terrace by the pool overlooking the spring vineyards where we could watch staff training and suckering the new vigorous vines. Check them out at They offer intimate Wedding, Honeymoon and Golf packages as well as conference packages. Read on.....
Excelsior is an enormous farm, with 220 hectares under vine and another 100 hectares of uncultivated space and room for the farm’s famous horses. Before we left, we had a tour of the winery with winemaker Johan Stemmet and a tasting with Sales manager Ernma Human and co-owner Peter de Wet. Read on.....
De Wetshof Visit     Bennie Stipp, Marketing manager at De Wetshof, heard we were coming to Wine on the River and invited us to come and do a special tasting on the farm of their current and a couple of older wines and then have lunch with the family at their home. We tasted through six of their really impressive Chardonnays, their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Riesling, 2010 Nature in Concert Pinot Noir, 2013 Naissance Cabernet and their 2010 Bordeaux blend, Thibault. This is a farm that has produced serious quality, consistently. We tasted with brothers Johann (viticulture and marketing) and Peter (winemaker) de Wet. The chardonnays are very site specific and have made De Wetshof famous. Father Danie de Wet is the person who first introduced chardonnay vines into South Africa and they make it with such passion and commitment.
Then we were treated to a visit to the private family home for a lovely lunch of Smoor Snoek, country Lamb chops with all the accompaniments and a delicious dessert. We thank them all for their very kind hospitality and great wines. Read on
A visit to Van Loveren     While we were in Robertson we also squeezed in a brief visit to Van Loveren. See more here
Caroline’s White Wine Review     Caroline Rillema gathers her favourite white wines together for a public tasting every year. Many new white wines are released in September and October and many of us look forward to this opportunity to taste them and some older wines. It was held at the Table Bay Hotel this year and it was a really great gathering of some or most of our good top white wines and bubbles. If you are looking for good wine, Caroline can help you to choose a very good selection. Where do we start describing all the wine? It is almost impossible to do in such a small space. Lynne found next year’s Birthday wine and John has to get it ordered soon as this is one that sells out really quickly. Read On
FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards     It was quite a controversial list this year, both in the trade and in the media. No Sauvignons from Constantia, Durbanville or Elgin, three of our top Sauvignon areas and quite a few from Stellenbosch much better known for its red wines, the heat not usually producing the quality expected. But then many farms these days are sourcing grapes from other cooler areas and the competition did produce some excellent Sauvignons. Three winning sauvignons that we like very much are the Cape Point made by Duncan Savage, The Infidel made by Hermit on the Hill Pieter de Waal and The Mentors by KWV. See pictures here
Reciprocal Tasting     It is not often we get to the chance to taste lots of premier wines from good French areas with a little German, Spanish and New Zealand thrown in for good measure. This tasting was held at a new venue (for us) in Woodstock, The Local Grill, which is also the site of The Woodstock Brewery. We arrived very early – our mistake – coming on from another function and were able to do a small tour of the brewery first. Then it was upstairs for the intense tasting which was very well attended by sommeliers, wine buyers and private wine collectors. Click here to see the wines on offer
Recipe      As we quoted C. LOUIS LEIPOLDT above we thought we should give you aver traditional South African recipe this week. To “smoor” is to blend.  It is a recipe developed by the Malay slaves early on in the history of the Cape, where snoek is always plentiful. Traditionally this is served with plain boiled rice.
We ate this at the De Wet family’s home this week and it is delicious
Smoor Snoek
1 large onion, chopped - 1 large clove of chopped garlic – 1 T canola oil - 300g flaked smoked snoek (remove all skin and bones) – 500g boiled potato, in cubes – 1/2 tsp chilli flakes– salt and pepper – juice of half a lemon – 2 T roughly chopped parsley
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft but not coloured. Then add the snoek, potatoes, chilli, and fry them gently together till they are all warm. Season to taste and add the juice of about half a lemon, to taste. It should taste quite lemony. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve. You can add chopped tomatoes or some curry spices
Durbanville’s Season of Sauvignon takes place on twelve Durbanville farms on Saturday and Sunday, October 25th and 26th – we will see you there on Sunday. It is the easiest festival to get to for Capetonians as it is only half an hour from the centre of the city, and it is very family orientated this year. Check out the events on the different farms here
There is a huge and rapidly growing variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. There are so many interesting things to do in our world of food and wine that we have made separate list for each type of event for which we have information. To see what’s happening in our world of food and wine (and a few other cultural events), visit our list of wine and food pairing dinners, list of Special events with wine and/or food connections, list of Wine Shows and Tastings and list of special dinner events. All the events are listed in date order and we have a large number of exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Events outside the Western Cape are listed here.
Learn about wine and cooking We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here
The Hurst Campus, an accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here.
In addition to the new Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here
Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here.
Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia.
Lynn Angel runs the Kitchen Angel cooking school and does private dinners at her home. She holds hands-on cooking classes for small groups on Monday and Thursday evenings and she has decided to introduce LCHF (Banting classes). The Kitchen Confidence classes, which focus on essential cooking skills and methods, have been expanded and are now taught over 2 evenings. She continues to host private dining and culinary team building events at her home. She trained with Raymond Blanc, and has been a professional chef for 25 years. More info here

25th October 2014
Remember - if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you, and, if you’re in Cape Town or elsewhere in the country, we can send it to you! Check our online shop for details and prices.
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
Our Adamastor & Bacchus© tailor-made Wine, Food and Photo tours take small groups (up to 6) to specialist wine producers who make the best of South Africa’s wines. Have fun while you learn more about wine and how it is made! Tours can be conducted in English, German, Norwegian and standard or Dutch-flavoured Afrikaans.
Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are ©John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.

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